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Extrema - Headbanging Forever

Headbanging Forever
by Crisstopher Robyn at 13 May 2019, 10:05 AM

EXTREMA formed in 1986 in Milan, Italy. Yes, that was a long time ago, I was 10.  The band’s initial lineup included guitarist Tommy Massara, vocalist/guitarist Andrea Boria, bassist Luca Varisco, and drummer Stefano Bullegas. They are still regarded as one of Italy's first Thrash Metal bands. Their first EP, “We F**kin' Care” sold 3,000 copies by only word of mouth in 1987. Italian Heavy Metal fans didn't yet seem prepared to embrace local talent, however, and the next four years saw EXTREMA being entirely re-vamped, with Massara being the only original member. They have opened for acts like SLAYER, D.R.I., and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. Even after playing with top name bands, the band realized they needed a new strategy to impress local talent scouts. EXTREMA began aggressively shopping their demos to international heavy metal critics, and even financed a trip to New York City for a one-off gig. Finally, the strategy paid off and their four-track demo was making people notice in 1991. After signing with Contempo Records, the band released “Tension at the Seams” in 1993. The album featured a cover of The POLICE's “Truth Hits Everybody” and a video for the track “Child O' Boogaow”.  After a successful year, EXTREMA issued a six-track live EP entitled “Proud, Powerful 'n' Alive,” and went right back on the work, playing upwards of 50 shows across Italy.  They signed with a new label, Flying Records, and released “The Positive Pressure (Of Injustice)” in 1995. In 1996, the band would go on hiatus until 1999. After returning, EXTREMA released a string of albums with “Better Mad Than Dead” in 2001, “V2’s Set The World On Fire” in 2005. After switching to Scarlet Records in 2009 the band released two more albums, “Pound For Pound” and “The Seed Of Foolishness”.  The discography is really impressive with EP’s and live albums. I apologize for the history lesson, so let us dive into “Headbanging Forever” due to be released May 10, 2019 via Punishment 18 Records.  Can the band continue to ‘Headbang Forever’ after 33 years? I am excited to see if they can!

The Call” starts off with the sounds of helicopters and firing missiles. After the brief intro, the song begins to pump the music into your veins. The double bass kicks with a machine gun sound, while the down-tuned guitars throw their heavy riffs over the beat. The vocals are really good and remind me of a contrast of various singers. It is a good start to the album. “Borders Of Fire” starts out like 80’s thrash. The lyrics are well written and flow with music really good. If there was a comparison to be made, I would say JUDAS PRIEST but heavier. The breakdown allows you to hear the bass line more clearly, before the guitar solo gives you a body slam. I will take this one and add to my playlist.

Pitch Black Eyes” is our mid-point of the album. The track begins with eerie sounds that remind you of a spooky carnival. It doesn’t take long for the doubles and guitars to take us into a dark world. The riffs of the guitars are deep and dark and really take the song into a darker perception. The vocal tones still hold their own to keep the dark theme within the nature of the song. The guitar solo really rips into your ears in this one. “Invisible” just opens up with ripping guitars. The drums, although keeping a clean sound, take a backseat to the guitars. The double bass seems to amplify the riffs and melodies. The transitions flow smoothly back and forth through the almost 7-minute track. “The Showdown” takes us to the end of a really good album. It starts with some slow guitar strums that remind me of an old METALLICA song, but the song goes full throttle after a few seconds. It has the sound of 80’s Thrash much like the rest of the album.

EXTREMA have certainly been “Headbanging Forever” but that hasn’t stopped the band from making a very good album. The production stands out but almost suffers from what I call the “And Justice Effect.” The bass only stands out in certain points and gets hidden under everything else. I am not trying to take away from the musical abilities or the production but I really wish it stood out just as much as every other instrument. The vocals and lyrics are outstanding, and the band still have the ability to rock out where a lot of older bands seem to fade away in this era. By the sound of EXTREMA, you may still be seeing releases from them over the next 20 years!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorabilty: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. The Call
2. Borders Of Fire
3. For the Loved And The Lost
4. Heaven’s Blind
5. Pitch Black Eyes
6. Headbanging Forever
7. Believer
8. Invisible
9. Paralizedw
10. The Showdown
Tommy Massara – Guitar
Gabri Giovanna – Bass
Francesco “Frullo” La Rosa – Drums
Tiziano Spigno – Vocals
Record Label: Rockshots Records


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Edited 01 June 2020

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